SCOTTISH PLANNING POLICY AND THE WILD LAND MAP
In the last edition of Mountain Views (number 69), Dave Windle detailed
NEMT's response to the drafts of National Planning Framework 3,
Scottish Planning Policy and the Scottish Natural Heritage wild land map developed
in conjunction with these. The final documents have now been published. Together
they have the potential to ensure that our finest landscapes are better protected.
However, they do not offer watertight protection for large areas and it is essential
that planning authorities apply the spirit of the relevant sections of NPF3
and the Scottish Planning Policy when making decisions affecting wild land.
There are serious concerns that the new arrangements do not go far enough and
future conflicts are unavoidable; however the Scottish Government is to be commended
for, belatedly, recognising that wild land should not just be exploited for
infrastructure developments but that it has other major benefits, both environmental
Wild Land Map
This has been altered somewhat following the consultation. The total area designated
as wild land has changed little but some areas designated as wild land have
been increased and a new area in Mull has been added. Three significant areas
have been removed; these are:
- a large section of land south of Loch Tay;
- an area south west of Peebles;
- a wide corridor stretching either side of the Corrieyairack. This, inevitably,
includes the area where the Stronelairg wind farm will be. Worryingly, removal
of the land west of this may signal that this is a suitable location for other
The map showing the additions and removals is available at http://www.snh.gov.uk/docs/A1323226.pdf
Key sections include the following statements:
- wind farms will not be acceptable in National Parks and National Scenic
- wind farms may (NEMT's underlining) not be appropriate in "areas
of significant protection" (not a legal designation). Land covered by
SNH's wild land map is listed in such areas, amongst other places;
- "Wild land character is displayed in some of Scotland's remoter upland,
mountain and coastal areas, which are very sensitive to any form of intrusive
human activity and have little or no capacity to accept any new developments.
Plans should identify and safeguard the character of areas of wild land as
identified in the 2014 SNH map of wild land areas."
- "Planning permission should be refused where the nature or scale of
proposed development would have an unacceptable impact on the natural environment.
Direct or indirect effects on statutorily protected sites will be an important
consideration, but designation does not impose an automatic prohibition on
- "Planning authorities should apply the precautionary principle where
the impacts of a proposed development on nationally or internationally significant
landscape or natural heritage resources are uncertain but where there is sound
evidence indicating that significant irreversible damage could occur."
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